1000th Veteran Flies on Mission 22

1,000 Veterans Have Made an Honor Flight Rochester Trip

>> Honor Flight Rochester’s first veteran will welcome them home
>> 150th anniversary commemoration of Taps at Arlington National Cemetery

ROCHESTER, NY – When Honor Flight Rochester’s Mission 22 lifts off Saturday morning May 19 onboard will be the 1,000th veteran to make an Honor Flight Rochester (HFR) trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial. Veterans return to the Greater Rochester International Airport Sunday, May 20.

“We treating all of the veterans as number 1,000 because during World War II they all pulled together to defeat the Axis forces and secure the freedom of the world,” said HFR President Edwin “Woody” Mench.

Greeting the returning veterans will World War II veteran Dick Bedford, the first veteran to fly with HFR. Bedford, 90, flew on HFR Mission 1 in October 2008 – the “Lone Eagle” flight. Bedford was a P-47 fighter pilot who flew 63 missions before being shot down June 12, 1944 – six days after D-Day (June 6, 1944). He lived with a French farm family for two months until he was captured and sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

AirTran #32 arrives at approximately 11:12 a.m. on Sunday May 20. Returning veterans should be coming “through the glass” at around 11:45 a.m. and the 45-minute welcome home ceremony should start between noon and 12:15 p.m. Mike Giardino, director of Aviation for the Greater Rochester International Airport, is the keynote speaker.

In addition to visiting the WWII Memorial, HFR veterans stop at Arlington National Cemetery. There, they may be treated to some additional activity as this is the 150th anniversary commemoration of Taps at Arlington National Cemetery (http://taps150.org/).

HFR Mission 23 is schedule for June 16 – 17. Additional HFR Missions are planned for the fall of 2012.

HFR (www.honorflightrochester.org) – one of 100 established hubs in the national Honor Flight Network – is a not-for-profit, fully-volunteer organization with a goal of taking every World War II veteran who otherwise would or could not go, to visit and reflect together at Washington D.C. Memorials built in their honor. The two-day trip is free to all World War II veterans and to veterans of any era who suffer a terminal illness. Rochester’s flying season is April to October. Some 1,000 veterans have now flown from Rochester since the local organization began full scale flights in early 2009.

Mission 83 (59 vets)
May 25-26
Mission 84 (60 vets)
June 15-16
Unfortunately veterans cannot choose what flight they will travel on due to medical and logistic issues associated with the flight process. We also encourage veterans from the Syracuse and Buffalo area's to visit and register with their local Honor Flight hubs before registering with Rochester Honor Flight.